Because I left my ID in my running shorts I was forced to fly standby to Seattle. In order to arrive by the 6pm tipoff, I needed someone also headed to Seattle to pass in the last second on their seat. Turns out that happens a lot. I made the flight. Basketball-wise, have the Bruins really jumped into the Dance? Do the Cardinal not want to dance? Can Zack LaVine fly? Do you think Kevin O’Neill saw 50 Shades? March approaches and it’s going to be tough to find two-and-a-half hours to watch both parts 1 and 2 of the SNL 40 special.
When it comes to fandom, sports understanding, and humanity, you don’t have to follow a blue blood program to know a sport. Jeff Nusser does hoops. He does far more (better) than HOTTAKES for the power site he co-founded, the fantastic WSU blog, CougCenter.
And so he’s a fan of a program in change while he watches golden boy, Tony Bennett, dominate the ACC from across the country. Yet we must look forward and in doing such we find Arizona looming on the eve of President’s day (worth noting: growing up in Tucson we got Rodeo Break, not President’s Day. Fact). Cougars versus Cats and Jeff kindly and witfully catches us up on all things crimson and grey.
Months ago, before nary an Ernie Kent game was coached, you seemed less than optimistic surrounding his summer on the recruiting circuit. We’ve now got a little time under our belts, how are you feeling about Ernie the recruiter?
I’m ecstatic to be headed to HecEd for my first Washington-Arizona game. Allow me a litany of reasons: Some of my favorites are Seattlites; this is my favorite Macklemore song; I once brought a Husky (best friend) to the second row of the McKale Center (Cats by 17 if you were curious); I like coffee; the Kid’s kid catches passes for Arizona. All of which is to say that I’m bummed the Dawgs are struggling because I’d like to see HecEd (and whatever Airlines) on full tilt. The Dawg Pound is revered.
Alas, so too is Jack Follman. We’ve worked together on a multitude of AZ-UW pieces, he’s a contributor across the internets; most specifically: Pacific Takes. I had some questions for him to catch us up on all things Washington (five game losing streak), Seattle, and this rivalry.
I’m going to Seattle. What must I do to capture the entire University of Washington basketball experience?
Between Brian Williams’ impending job status, John Stewart stepping down, and the fact that I watched Junior Varsity basketball last night, I’d say the world is in flux. I don’t own any The North Face clothing and I’m going to Seattle on Friday. Maybe we can find clarity in a week of Pac-12 basketball?
Game of the Week
Big announcement from WANE this week in that we’re headed to a Pacific Northwest near you. As you can imagine, these sad homers dive quickly into a discussion of Arizona’s weekend neglecting (to begin) buzzer beaters in Haas, UCLA and Duck bubble talk, Adam as a ‘scout’ but get their wits about them to go on some exciting tangents. Good pod.
Also, if you’d like to subscribe to WANE on iTunes THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD CLICK.
WANE (and on SoundCloud):
College basketball lost Dean Smith this weekend. You’re probably familiar with his basketball achievements and they’re markedly impressive: 879 wins, 2 NCAA titles, 11 final fours, 17 ACC championships, 4 time coach of the year. Dean Smith was a basketball genius. But he’ll be missed because he was cherished as a great man. Familiarize yourself with his precious memories and know that it was all true.
12) WASHINGTON STATE
Last night I passed on two Pac-12 games that both went down to the wire to watch West Coast Conference basketball. I went for the chance at a more traditional court storming but when it comes to pack mentality, there really is no such thing as logic. Get excited, spill onto the floor. Conversely, if you’re a coach, you can wear your jacket or take it off. I’ve long tried to track Johnny Dawkins’ tendencies here. Whatever, let’s Pistol-Hammer this Friday:
A Celebrity on the Floor
With high spirits considering I knew the entire episode was recorded, I was delighted to see things open with Snoop saying, “We Bruins now.” How could this not be a great episode? I guess setting high expectations is a tough proposition for Colorado.
Alas, what I’d come to discover is that what I missed in mis-DVR’ing the final four minutes was just a power-reel through the most recent weekend of games. We less-than-enthusiastically got to re-live UCLAs sweep of the Ski schools and Askia’s 43. Meh. Continue reading
My high school baseball coach used to tell us that each day we either got better or worse. We never stayed the same. If that were the case, then we were expected to steadily improve. The goal to get better each day.
So maybe it’s OK that TJ McConnell struggled out of the gate. He was playing at a historically low offensive rate and Arizona didn’t look its presumed dominant self. His shooting percentages through the season’s first five games was flirting with devastation (31%). Everyone who proclaimed Arizona to be shooting inept was validated in their concern.
Steady improvement. Continue reading
We are halfway through this season and it’s evident that 2015 is a tough season to cover. Basketball is being played at nearly two fewer possessions per game with nearly 6% less scoring per game (learn more here). The Pac-12 – the conference that chose me – is playing at nearly 2012 levels. Sure the top of the conference is better and the talent levels far surpass that which we saw in the fateful Pac-12 inauguration. But at least in 2012 there was a multitude of teams vying for a shot to dance. What crap could rise to the top? You can’t look me in the blog and tell me anyone but Arizona or Utah is going to win in Vegas. It’s seemingly foregone in early February. This is increasingly looking like a two-horse race to Selection Sunday. After that, 2015 has been…a rebuilding? That’s not going to stop us. Because Askia Booker has shots to take and so too does DaVonte Lacy. Kevon Looney is going to be the only freshman in the country to average a double-double. Have you watched Oregon State’s zone against everyone but Arizona State? Watch Elgin Cook pursue a shot, Gary Payton II defend, and Ty Wallace play. These are the last nine games you’ll see of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic, Norman Powell, and Booker. You’ve got plenty of reasons to perhaps quit on this season. But champions never quit. This is the Conference of Champions (plus the page views, comments, tweets and shares make me feel good).